At last week's dealer show in Las Vegas, a picture of Ford's upcoming 4.4-liter V8 diesel powerplant was leaked to the Internet... ouch. The new powerplant is hardly a secret (we were reporting the first hints of it in June 2006, and the legal issues surrounding the engine in June 2007), but this is the first time the public has seen a photo of the new diesel in its metallic flesh.
Designed to offer comparable acceleration to the current 5.4-liter gasoline Triton, the new engine should be rated at about 330 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is expected to be around 20% better than the gas-fed Triton. To meet tough emission standards, a NOx after-treatment called "aqueous urea" will be injected into the hot exhaust stream. While the additive cleans up the tailpipe exhaust, it will also be another fluid the consumer will have to maintain (Ford is promising the "urea tank" will only need replenishing during oil changes). Although it doesn't look very attractive sitting naked on a stand atop the garish hotel carpet, you had better get used to seeing this V8 around town. Ford is saying that after a debut in the F-150 midway through the 2010 model year, we can expect the engine to follow in the Expedition, Navigator, E-Series vans, and F-Series SuperDuty.